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August 10, 2023
6 min to read

THC-X: A New Cannabinoid or Trendy Marketing?

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Hayley Heidelbaugh

It’s a challenge to parse our growing list of hemp-derived cannabinoids. While some are legitimate and have limited research to back up retailers’ claims, that isn’t always the case. Some newly described compounds and cannabis products have yet to receive any level of scientific inquiry.

On one end of the spectrum, we have delta 9 THC—the main active cannabinoid in marijuana, and the substance most closely associated with a cannabis high. It provides a strong sense of euphoria, with effects that are more intense than many of its hemp-derived cousins. We have decades of research investigating the benefits, side effects, and medicinal potential of delta 9.

Due to its status as a federally controlled substance, delta 9 alternatives are a necessity. Delta 8 THC products have received the most attention. Intoxicating hemp cannabinoids like delta 8, THCP, and HHC are under-researched, but a growing number of studies back their recreational or medicinal uses.

THC-X, however, is something new under the sun. This is one of several cannabinoids—or a blend of cannabinoid esters—that seem to have appeared out of thin air. We have virtually no research on THC-X and its effects. Some information can be garnered from sellers, but even these claims are contradictory at times.

Today, we’re going to break down what’s actually being said about THC-X.

What is THC-X?

It’s not completely clear what THC-X is. There’s a strong chance that, at least in part, the term is being used as a marketing buzzword.

The original “THC-X” blend seems to have been crafted by Frozen Fields. According to the brand, this blend is unique to their products and isn’t sold elsewhere. They also refer to the concoction as “Formula-X.”

The THC-X formulation is marketed as an ultra-bioavailable alternative to standard hemp or delta 8 products. The creators claim that it has instantaneous, long-lasting effects. So far, there are no scientific publications to prove the sellers’ claims. We’ll just need to wait and see.

From what we can tell, the original blend contains three D8 esters: delta 8 acetoacetate, delta 8 butyrate, and delta 8 isovalerate. In an ester, at least one acidic hydroxyl group is swapped out with an organyl group. Before “acetoacetate” sets off any alarm bells, this is not the same as delta 8 THC acetate (delta 8 THC-O), which can convert into ketene when heated.

This is where the waters get murky. A handful of retailers are selling their own THC-X products, and at least one makes a familiar claim: the blend is unique to their brand and can’t be found elsewhere. It's unclear whether these THC-X products are using the esters described above.

The vaping ingredient “THC-X” isn’t to be confused with THCX, a screening used to identify D8 and D9 THC metabolites in urine. There’s also a THCX stock symbol, which is associated with AXS Cannabis ETF and has nothing to do with the THC-X blend.

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Does THC-X get you high?

Whether THC-X gets you high may depend on the version of “THC-X” you’re consuming. Aside from the ester blend described above, we have virtually no idea what the ingredients are or where they came from. It could be the same ester blend, sure, but several brands using it don’t go into detail.

The ester blend described earlier is derived from delta 8 THC and will get you high. Aside from that, we don’t really know where THC-X comes from or what it contains.

For instance, one brand describes it as its own “cannabinoid blend,” but doesn’t elaborate any further. Oftentimes, however, THC-X is featured in a blend of hemp-derived cannabinoids. It can be combined with anything from delta 8 THC to more obscure compounds, including THC-JD.

To determine whether these THC-X products will get you high, take a look at the other ingredients. If it contains something psychoactive, chances are, consuming the product will get you high.

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What are the effects of THC-X?

All we can say about the effects of THC-X is what the ester blend originators claim: that their product is highly bioavailable and produces a smooth, long-lasting high. Still, it looks like these products haven’t been around for long. There’s no published research behind them, nor does there appear to be any research on the individual esters.

Based on the cannabinoid blends THC-X is thrown into, most of these products will get you high. It’s hard to say whether or not this is the result of THC-X itself, though. Any additional effects are unknown.

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Will THC-X show up on a drug test?

We don’t know how THC-X is metabolized and you shouldn’t consume it before a drug test. The same applies to hemp or marijuana products of any kind.

There’s no research into the metabolization of delta 8 acetoacetate, delta 8 butyrate, and delta 8 isovalerate.

The ester blend is a byproduct of delta 8 THC, which we already know converts to THC-COOH in the body. This is the metabolite that drug screenings are looking for. It can linger in fat cells for several weeks, although the exact length of time depends on usage frequency, metabolic rate, health conditions, and other variables.

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Is THC-X legal and where is it sold?

As long as the components of THC-X are found naturally in hemp, and derived from legal hemp, it is federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill. All THC-X products are required by law to contain under 0.3% delta 9 THC. Some states have prohibited the sale of hemp-derived cannabinoids.

You can find products named THC-X from a number of online hemp retailers. Frozen Fields is the only one confirmed to be selling the blend of delta 8 esters, at least to our knowledge. While THC-X isn’t hard to find, it’s difficult to say what it contains, or if particular brands are even selling the same cannabinoids.

If you’re still interested in giving THC-X a shot, only purchase from trusted retailers with transparent safety testing. Check for third-party testing results before buying THC-X carts, disposables, or edibles.

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Hayley Heidelbaugh

Vaping since: 3 years

Favorite products:

Favorite flavors: White Wedding, Northern Lights, Platinum Valley, OG Kush

Expertise in: Oil carts, cannabis concentrates, cannabis flower

Hayley Heidelbaugh

I'm a Pennsylvania-based cannabis enthusiast and writer. As a part of the Vaping360 team, I'm eager to help cannabis consumers explore vaping and get the most out of their experience. You can also find me @faeberrystudios on Instagram.

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